Stoke 2017

I spent three weekends up in Stoke canvassing on the doorstep in both Labour and Conservative areas and found the people of the city to be very friendly, open-minded and approachable, regardless of their politics. The operation and co-ordination on the ground was immense. It was well-run by Lisa Duffy and her team. The call to arms went out and hundreds of loyal UKIP party activists turned up from all over the country to help their new leader Paul Nuttall get elected in Stoke Central. However, it was my personal view that it was a mistake not to stand a local candidate. The UKIP Stoke Chairman Mick Harold was very popular. He knew the area and the local issues, but the party decided to go for that knockout blow with Paul Nuttall deep behind enemy lines.

Trying to overturn a 5000 vote majority is a tall order for anyone. Nigel Farage failed on seven attempts to get into Westminster. The moment our leader stood the press were out to get him. We allowed the opposition to attack Paul yet we failed to attack the Labour candidate when he found himself in hot water over remarks towards women, for which he was forced to apologise. At times it felt like we were too mainstream and campaigning just like the other parties, which is not what we’re about. It should tell it like it is. That’s always been our strength and has served us well in the past.

In my opinion, Paul needs to stand in a marginal seat (less than 2000 vote margin) to have a realistic chance of winning. As a party, lessons will be learned and we will come back stronger for it. We need more radical policies aimed at the British working class communities while promoting ourselves first and underpinning our libertarian values. Whilst campaigning in Stoke, I spoke to college students who weren’t aware that it was UKIP policy to abolish tuition fees for ‘STEM’ subjects, so the message isn’t getting out to the masses. I spoke to Conservatives who said they were happy with how May was handling things since the Referendum. When I pushed them about voting tactically to oust Labour in Stoke as they had no chance of winning the seat I got the impression that they weren’t going to do that. Some said they probably weren’t going to vote anyway this time around. Not the answer I wanted to hear at the end of the day. I met Labour voters who said they would be voting UKIP this time but most of the disillusioned Labour voters I met clearly said they wouldn’t be voting Labour, but nor would they be voting for anybody else.

On the night of the count itself in Stoke, when the voter percentage was known, I knew the writing was on the wall. The numbers were too low and we needed a higher turnout to win.

It was a daring plan. For Paul Nuttall to go from the front like that was courageous. The idea, intention and logistics were all there on the ground and the People’s Army of UKIP gave it their all, but just like that famous WWII operation to shorten the war by six months, Stoke was our Arnhem.

Paul Hickling
Membership Secretary
Ukip Worcester


19 comments on Stoke 2017

  1. Paul Nuttall and his party Chairman have failed the membership badly over what went on in Stoke from start to finish, even Nigel Farage questioned his strategy in Stoke!! After the defeat Paul’s response was to say “UKIP’s time will come” this was a cop out for me. Paul messed up and should continue but some of the people advising him need to consider their positions. Party Chairman Paul Oakden should step down from his role after he admitted they got it badly wrong in Stoke.

    Paul Oakden – SHOULD RESIGN! as party Chairman.

    Paul Oakden has been in hot water before, the Sun newspaper ran an article on him 7th August 2016 (google it) claiming that he was a political suicide bomber after revealing he pretended to be a PILOT on a dating site, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen compared Mr Oakden to a Walter Mitty type for his lies. The MP confirmed that he fired him (Paul Oakden) as his agent back in 2008.

  2. We should have gone with a local candidate backed up with local issues, the majority of by-elections over the years have been won by a local candidates accross all the parties.

  3. If you think we have problems now imagine what it will be like in two years time in 2019 when we no longer have anymore MEPs and the money stops coming from Brussels. The soft tories running the show now are leading us nowhere, stoke was a shambles, the Stoke branch was never consulted about the local issues, none of their activists were used and there was no communication between the campaign team and the Stoke branch at all during the by-election and they have elected councillors in the city. The by election was hijacked by the leadership in a massive error of judgment. It was embarrassing to see our Leader and party chairman both swanning around in a work mans cap like that, it was an insult to the working class people of Stoke.

  4. Well we can write off the county elections coming up in May, most branches are complaining on the various forums that they can’t get their people vetted!!! If we bomb out this May and badly Paul Nuttall will be under great pressure to step down, Aron Banks will be there smiling saying well do you want me or not.

  5. i think this was ill though out an Paul should have got his house in order before embarking on this enterprise he now looks foolish

    1. The party looks like it’s at a crossroads, those that want real reform and strong leadership backed up by more radical polices that protect the British working classes with the help of Arron Banks, and those that want to move us more to the center ground like a watered down soft tory option so we are more mainstream as a party. I would like to see Bill Etheridge take over as leader within the next 12 months as Paul Nuttalls attempt to unite everyone under his watch has failed badley regardless of Stoke. Will be very interesting to see how the NEC deal with Carswell …? they will rule on him by the end of March.

  6. The Party will be unveiling its new policy platform at the national conference in a few months time. We will come out fighting and go on the attack. We will take on the issues that the members & grassroots want us to take on. We won’t go mainstream and walk off to the soft center ground like we did in Stoke.

  7. After article 50 is triggered UKIP will need to reform big time, a change of name might be a good idea to (UKRP or UKIRP) united kingdom independent reform party, only need to add in or change one letter! Also Arron Banks needs to be given a role within the party, we need his business, marketing, & digital on line skills and money to help take us forward after Brexit, Nigel Farrage back in as well in a front facing role, Carswell & Hamilton out!!

  8. Paul Nuttall must realise that he staked his reputation on the line (rather foolishly in my mind) that with a clear Liverpool working class identity and the stoke Brexit vote he would be elected easily. That backfiered because of a catalogue of school boy errors and his reputation is now in tatters.

    1. I agree. Stoke wasn’t a gamble worth taking, though hindsight is always 20:20.
      Nuttall made it a shit-or-bust contest by clearing the local candidates out of the way. Stoke was somewhere where a local candidate was needed. The message being delivered to the locals was all wrong too.

      On a broader note, the Tories have adopted UKIP’s core policy lock, stock and barrel. They’ve even nicked the party’s stsnce on grammar schools. They know what they’re doing by adopting this approach. UKIP can only respond by being radical. There needs to be a re-brand and a fundamental policy shift, otherwise the party is heading to the exit

      1. Spot on Dave, we have great policies which people are just not aware of so it’s to easy for the tories to pinch them. We have got to sell our policies to the people locally and nationally, some new radical local polices would not go a miss either. Build from the bottom up by gaining city council seats first like the Lib Dems did for many years.

      2. The Stoke branch chairman stood in Stoke last time in the 2015 general election, he was well liked in the city and new all the local issues, they should have let him defend the seat again, he would have pulled in more votes than Paul Nuttall.

        1. Local candidates…. Robbie Williams is from Stoke!! should have asked him to stand for us, and it would have been a landslide win to ukip

  9. Voting conservative at the moment is the safe option because of the determination of Theresa May that article 50 will be triggered by the end of March. People no longer perceive the need for ukip and a vote for the conservative party ensures that Labour will be kept out.

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